Scotland

'Last supper' for Glasgow City Mission men

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Media captionCompanionship and charity at Christmas is the message of a new oil painting commissioned by a Glasgow church

A modern take on the Last Supper has been unveiled by a city centre church, featuring men from Glasgow's City Mission - a Christian charity which cares for vulnerable adults by fighting against poverty and disadvantage.

According to Gospel accounts, The Last Supper is the final meal that Jesus shared with his Apostles before his crucifixion.

For centuries, it has been the subject of artistic interpretation, most famously by Leonardo da Vinci in his 15th Century mural.

Now Iain Campbell, artist-in-residence at Glasgow's St George's Tron, Church of Scotland, has created a new Glaswegian version of the Last Supper featuring men who find themselves in difficult financial or personal circumstances.

Image caption Artist Iain Campbell's painting will be on display in the church cafe

It was commissioned as part of a social enterprise project between the church and Glasgow City Mission to run a cafe in the church.

The artist began his oil painting in September and has been working on it since in full public view.

He says his previous work featured politicians Nicola Sturgeon, Ruth Davidson and Johann Lamont and he had wondered whether his Last Supper should feature well-known faces.

However, he decided to use real people to highlight the work of the City Mission.

Mr Campbell says: "Painting this in public, folks continually came up to me to chat about it.

"Again and again they said they were surprised that they look like real people rather than some idealised version of the Last Supper.

"There's a sense that there is some real raw stories behind the faces in the painting."

Mr Campbell adds: "We decided to call the painting Our Last Supper. It was based on something one of the guys had said to me.

"He said: 'I suppose for any one of us this might be our last supper.'"

Image caption John Wallace was unemployed and finding life tough when the project started

John Wallace is one of the men featured in the painting.

He was unemployed and finding life tough when the project started.

He says: "A couple of bits of depression and things like that, problems getting the better of you.

"Most of the gentlemen at this table have all come from the same sort of background. So you are not on your self."

John says he values the support and friendship of the City Mission and life for him is looking up.

He is picking up work in restaurant kitchens and has moved into his own place.

Image caption Arthur Curtis is one of the men featured in the oil painting

Arthur Curtis, who is featured in the foreground of the painting, says: "Could it be you that it could happen to?

"Could it be someone you know that it could happen to?

"You've just got to face up to it."

Arthur says he hopes people will pop in for a coffee and enjoy a piece of art that focuses on those so often pushed to the margins of society.

The Reverend Alastair Duncan, minister of the St George's Tron, says: "One of the questions Iain was often asked was 'Who is Jesus in the painting?'.

"He would quote the parable of the sheep and the goats which Jesus told in Matthew's gospel in the context of which he said 'whatever you do for the least of these you do for me'."

The minister added: "The people who Glasgow City Mission supports may be in hostel accommodation, may have their own place or may be genuinely homeless but they are people who in some ways have been vulnerable or are finding a way out of that.

"They just need that consistency of care and support for them whatever stage they are in."

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